Sunday, May 21, 2017

Oklahoma Supreme Court Rejects Challenge To Driver's License Photo

In Beach v. Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, (OK Sup. Ct., May 16, 2017), the Oklahoma Supreme Court held that under the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act, plaintiff must make a prima facie showing of a substantial burden on his or her free exercise of religion before the government needs to demonstrate a compelling government interest and least restrictive means.  The court concluded that plaintiff here failed to make a prima facie showing supporting her allegation that her sincere religious beliefs prohibit her, in obtaining a driver's license, from allowing a biometric photo to be taken and placed into a database that is accessible by other countries or international organizations.  The court also concluded that plaintiff's complaint is moot because plaintiff had already submitted biometric photos and fingerprints in the past. Two justices concurred only in the result and one dissented in part, saying that the case is moot.